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Vermont Guardian

For The Independent Mind

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Posted April 5, 2007


CORRECTION: The name of the planner at the Northwest Regional Planning Commission is Bill Rose. His name was incorrect in an article posted on March 29. Also, the NRPC position does not preclude necessary all-terrain vehicles (ATV) crossings (in situations where there are no other opportunities to cross the LVRT), but the NRPC is opposed to complete access of the trail by ATVs. In addition, the congressional funding for the rail trail was secured by Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, not Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-VT.

The taxman in Montpelier

Will taxes be going up in Vermont this year? Cue up the old tune, “Taxman,” by The Beatles.

With the solid Democrat majority in the legislature, they say their focus is on creating jobs but, they need more revenue to fulfill their agenda. Pres. Pro Tem Peter Shumlin and House Speaker Gaye Symington vow not to increase taxes but their past actions speak louder than words.

From heating fuel taxes to pay for contractors to insulate homes and gas guzzlers’ tax to pay for someone else’s transportation, to increased taxes on commercial real estate transactions to subsidize our dairy farmers, there’s never enough money for redistribution.

The Democrats are in charge and control purse strings. They increased the minimum wage and eliminated secret ballots for workers on union representation. They introduced a ”rich” couple’s income tax for those earning more than $100,000 and another tax to pay for Canadian-style “universal coverage” health care.

Medicaid is still under funded by $60 million. This hidden tax is paid by high health insurance rates that are two times the national average. Democrat leaders are now asking for $500,000 to create a health care rationing board in the event there’s a tax shortfall. We’ll pay with our lives through rationing.

Gov. Jim Douglas campaigned on an affordability agenda and the Democrats echoed the same concern to win votes. After the election Democrat veterans indicated our tax burden isn’t bad and the rich still have the capacity to pay higher taxes for the greater good. Then, ignoring the voters’ mandate for a major property tax reduction, they proposed spending millions to expand education to pre-kindergarten children.

Art Woolf’s Off the Rail’s data showed that if we don’t start controlling spending, “virtually all state revenues in 2030 will be needed to pay for just for education and human services.” What state government needs should be in balance with what Vermonters can afford.

Mr. Taxman, spare me a dime or your victims will vote with their feet.

Frank Mazur
South Burlington

You get what you vote for

To all the folks who voted for the Democrats to end the war: You’ve all been Sanjia’d.

Louie “The Cowman” Beaudin
Burlington

Douglas: Is he aware of climate change?

Gov. Jim Douglas’ latest comment about climate change reveals either his profound lack of knowledge or a fool’s denial.
Offering his observation that “February was a below normal month for temperature” as a noteworthy event that could balance the overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrating climate change is a severe disconnect from reality usually suffered by the likes of Pres. George W. Bush or Sen. James Inofe, R-OK.

Maybe the governor should speak to the Canadians, Russians, and Danes who are at this moment struggling with each other over the potential resources exposed by the melting of the Artic ice caps — an event not witnessed in thousands of years.

It is tragic that Vermonters in trying to bring political balance to their state continue to rely on a man who is truly “out of touch” with the major challenges we face as a people. Issues such as the war, energy use, climate change, and job creation need explicit leadership and solutions not the politically expedient slogans, “accountability and affordability.”

My advice Jim, “Wake up, lead or get out of the way!”

Mark Furnari
South Burlington

Gaza reporter is not objective

Mohammed Omer’s talk at the Centre Congregational Church (broadcast with several repeats on BCTV) last year was reported in a front page Brattleboro Reformer story “Gaza reporter tells violent story” and in the Vermont Guardian.

It was followed the next day by an editorial titled “Courage under fire” based on an interview with him at the Reformer office. And although Omer assured the Reformer staff that “he tries to be evenhanded,” there is little evidence of his objectivity, and even less of his truthfulness.
According to the Reformer editorial, Omer said that his brother Hussam “was killed by an Israeli sniper while walking to school.” But on his website, Omer claimed that his brother was killed while “sitting at home when he was shot in the face, chest, back, legs.” Then, on the next page of the website, Omer stated that his brother was killed in the street, fleeing the demolition of his family home. These are three very contradictory stories.

But there is more, much more. Omer just can’t get his story straight. His inconsistency is a sign of unthruthfullnes. Contradicting his claim that “Hussam ... had nothing to do with any violent or even political movement,” the newspaper Haaretz reported that on Oct. 18, “Tariq Abu Hussein, 39, a well-known field commander of the Hamas miitary wing, and another Hamas militant, Hassam Mughier ...” (were killed when) “troops fired on a group of armed Hamas militants laying explosives along paths used by IDF tanks in the Salam neighborhood of the Rafah Refugee Camp, the IDF and Hamas said.”

A search of the Palestinian Authority’s “Names of Al Aqsa Martyrs,” which lists on a daily basis every single Palestinian killed leads one to believe that Omer’s brother (#2764) was the Hamas militant killed in “Rafah, 18/10/03.”

Omer’s lack of credibility is no surprise when you consider that he is the paid Gaza correspondent for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA) that sponsored and paid for his U.S. whirlwind 14-day, 14-city cross-country trip.

The sympathetic reporting in the Reformer, the Guardian and iBrattleboro.com neglected to mention that the publisher of WRMEA is the American Educational Trust, whose president is heavily involved in holocaust denial organizations, and that WRMEA itself is virulently anti-Israel, a constant source of distortions and lies about Israel, as well as of anti-Semitic stories.

If we can’t rely on Omer’s truthfulness about the death of his brother, is there reason to believe his gruesome stories of “heartless” Israelis slaughtering innocent men, women and children in Rafah?

Bob Grossbaum
Whitingham